Justice Hall is the sixth in a series of Sherlock Holmes and his wife and partner Mary Russell.
Russell and Holmes have just completed a case when an old friend pays them a visit, a friend from an earlier novel, O, Jerusalem. His cousin has suddenly been called upon to take the place as Duke of a “big name” English family (the Hughenforts) as those in the succession line ahead of him have been dying rather unexpectedly.
They go with him immediately to Justice Hall—the manor home of the Hughenforts. Russell and Holmes investigate the hushed scandal around the Duke's nephew, Gabriel, and his death. It takes them back three years to 1918 and the French front against Germany. They also help the family determine whether there are other heirs.
The duke believes that his nephew was executed as a coward, but even Mycroft can't find records to say for certain what happened to him. Without ever getting maudlin, author Laurie King instills us with a sense of horror for the 300 children and men who were “shot at dawn.”
This report prepared by Bridgette Redman
Bantam, April 2002, 23.95, 334 pp.
Four years ago in 1919, Sherlock Holmes and Mary Russell were in Palestine working a case. Their paths crossed that of two Arabs, Ali and Mahmoud Hazr, two agents of Mycroft who reported on German movement. These four people worked so closely together, breaking bread watching, each other's back and taking care of business that a bond was formed, closer than that of family.
In the present (1923) a knock on the door of Holmes and Russell's home reveals a wounded and desperate Ali who says he needs their help. It seems that the Hazr's are descendants from one of England's oldest families, one who came over with the Conqueror. Mahmoud is now the Seventh Duke of Belleville and he is on the family estate of Justice Hall. Duty forces him to come to England though his heart and soul yearn to be with Ali in Palestine. Mary and Sherlock must find out if there is anyone of the blood to take Marsh's place, a job that is fraught with danger and peril.
It's hard to imagine any author writing about Sherlock Holmes in a manner that is significantly different than his creator and having it come out fabulous but Laurie R. King makes the impossible possible. JUSTICE HALL is a rich multi-textured tale that is as much a historical mystery as it is a parable of the human condition. This book as well as the series is a must read for Holmes fans as well as anyone who wants to read something unusually good.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner